Inspiration can be a hard thing to come by. We collared Jenna, a wedding stationer brimming with oodles of inspiration, to ask how she keeps her designs on trend and where she gets all those good ideas from.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jenna and I am the Owner and Lead Designer at Wonderland Invites & Design Studio.
After working in media for over seven years, I really needed a change. I’ve always been artistic and I decided to take up decoupage as a way to relax and unwind after a long day at work. I began creating candleholders and vases from up-cycled glass bottles, and enjoyed a really successful run of craft fairs.
Weddings came to the fore after I was asked by a couple of friends to create stationery items for their weddings; including place settings, guest books and table plans. And that is how Wonderland Invites really began.
Now, we provide a range of solutions, from digitally designed stationery to handcrafted creations for all occasions, including weddings, birthdays, bridal and baby showers, engagement parties and events.
How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
My partner is a web designer and I became fascinated with Photoshop and Illustrator after watching him create some amazing designs and illustrations. I thought to myself, what if I tie in my creativity with my ability to use such digital programs?
I taught myself to use Photoshop. Not only did it expand my skillset, but it also opened up a whole new revenue stream for Wonderland Invites. It means that I am able to provide more cost-effective solutions for potential clients who may not want to set aside a larger proportion of their budget to handcrafted stationery, without compromising on style and design integrity.
What design tools could you not live without?
I could neither live, nor do my job, without Photoshop and my beloved MacBook Pro. Without both, none of what I’ve accomplished would be possible. Other than those core tools, all I really need is a good coffee and Spotify!
What is your favourite product to design and why?
I know this sounds cliché…but I love to design full stop, and so every product I put together is special to me. Because we offer both ‘Off The Peg’ and custom-designed stationery, no two days are the same.
One week, I am bombarded by custom orders; which is really interesting because every single client has a different colour scheme, event theme and generally, just a different way of looking at their event. When it is a little quieter, I spend time design our ‘Off The Peg’ digital printable range and uploading to our Etsy store.
If I really had to choose, I love putting together table plan designs. The available space you have to work with in such a large format is quite liberating.
You are best known for your floral vintage style when it comes to wedding invitations – was it a conscious decision to find a style you liked and stick to it, or did it simply end up that way?
I love working with floral illustrations; they are a timeless feature of wedding stationery and always contrast beautifully against text. I am naturally drawn to florals and I love the rustic look. When looking at trends on bridal sites, or flicking through Pinterest boards, it is always the flower arrangements that catch my eye!
I have begun recently to branch out and incorporate different styles into my work, as I am completely aware that florals aren’t up every bride’s street!
How do you stay up to date with trends?
I spend a lot of my down time on Pinterest and Instagram, looking at different boards and hashtags to really get my creative juices flowing. I religiously follow #weddinghour on Twitter, every Wednesday at 9pm, in order to see what others across the wedding industry are talking about. Social media is just so accessible, meaning I can be on the train and still be able to jot down trends and ideas, which I can then translate into my work.
What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly?
I love to check out weddingideasmag.com once or twice a week—I find their posts really useful; not only from a business point of view, but also as I am due to be a bridesmaid to one of my closest friends next May. Other regulars on my list are stylemepretty.com and boho-weddings.com
How do you stay inspired? What is your creative like?
Ninety percent of the time, inspiration comes easy. But for the other ten percent, it doesn’t quite come. I find that on the days where inspiration is hard to come by, it is better to crack on with any updates that need doing to our website or Etsy store, or work on amendments to existing client designs.
I have learnt so much about how to work as a designer from my partner. When nothing is coming to mind, he always tells me not to fight it or force myself. Conversely, when I have a particularly inspired day, I run with it and try to work through as much as I can; whether it be digitally, or outlining plans in a sketch book.
I suppose, when it comes down to it, inspiration really comes from a love of what you do and I’m living my dream every single day!
What recommendations would you give to others wishing to get into design and wedding stationery?
Just go for it! Don’t be afraid to chase your dream, after all, life is what you make it. A couple of years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would be where I am now. I was terrible with computers; if you had asked me to ‘create a clipping mask’ on Photoshop, I would have walked away. Now, I am building a thriving business around a piece of equipment that I mostly used for online shopping!
If you don’t feel confident enough to jump right in, why not enroll in a workshop to learn a new skill; perhaps decoupage, screen printing or embroidery? You could make some new friends in the process that may help to give you the inspiration you need to start your journey into the world of wedding stationery. I started my creative journey with decoupage and now I am doing something completely different. You never know where your new skills will take you.
Where do you see yourself next?
I really want to move Wonderland Invites into a permanent studio space. Currently, working from home is our only option, until we can afford to permanently move into a fully functional studio. Working from home has its upsides; the commute from bed to desk takes seconds, but it would be brilliant to have a more defined sense of a work/life structure. Plus, we could also house more equipment and have somewhere to bring potential/current clients for design meetings.
If you’d like to see more of Jenna’s work, you can find Wonderland Invites & Design Studio at their site or browse the Etsy store.